2012 Tokyo Program

2012 Tokyo Program

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday, June 21: Meiho Elementary School

This was the second day of the two-day workshop with Waseda University. Day two consisted of teaching 5th and 6th graders an aspect of American culture. For this project I was teamed up with Carolynn and Steve. I was very thankful for this because I am not a teacher. Both Steve and Carolynn have experience teaching in some format. I have tutored before and I currently mentor high school kids that are at-risk but I felt very anxious about this event. It had been a long while since I had been in front of a classroom. I remembered watching a video that Yumiko-san had constructed for a depiction of the KJ method in her classroom that we watched with the Waseda students. She seemed like a natural in front of those kids and I wanted to emulate that nature as I stood on front of our students.

Steve, Carolynn and I decided to talk about American contemporary media such as online video streaming, music, and movies. We decided that Youtube was a very important aspect of American culture. The video we picked, "Ultimate Dog Tease" is one of my personal favorites and still makes me laugh today. The kids appreciated it as well. For music we picked one song that we thought represented each genre (rock, pop, country, rap, and dance) very well. My favorite was the movie section where we decided that the comic book movie surge in America in the last 15 years was the way to go. I knew the kids would know Spider Man, Iron Man, and The Green Lantern.

In the first class section we did not have Internet so instead of showing videos and pictures, we decided to show the kids a dance, the Macarena. This was exceptionally fun! The children were very nervous but because of the youthful spirit of children (that I miss in myself sometimes) there were a number of kids that got up and rocked it!. This event could not have been so successful without the help of the Japanese teachers and our own professors. I had so much fun and I could tell we all did!

After the sessions, I had lunch with the 6th graders. This was very interesting because of the way they construct lunch in Japanese elementary schools. Growing up I ate lunch in the cafeteria but Japanese children eat in the classroom and it is maintained by the students themselves. I was immersed in the Japanese discipline in these young souls as food was set up, served and cleaned all by the children. I could only imagine the chaos that would ensue if this practice was implemented in the States! I am very thankful for this opportunity and I thank the Waseda students, the children, staff, and faculty at Meiho as well as my professors!

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